This post is the fifteenth part of a ramble-rant about the software business. The current posts in this series are:
This post is about being as opposed to doing.
Many of us have lived through the management fads of recent years. They range from Dressing for Success to Seven Habits to Elevator Pitches. I’m not knocking these fads (well, not much anyway) – there’s good stuff here.
Anyone who’s seen me knows I could stand to dress better, I have more than seven bad habits, and I chew up a good 10 seconds saying the word “uhhh” during any attempt at a two-minute elevator pitch.
But will doing these things make me successful?
“What Do You Do?”
I sometimes struggle with answering this question. When my neighbors ask me what I do, I tell them I work with computers. My neighbors are really good people, but they’re not in the technology industry. Launching into a well-rehearsed and concise diatribe really isn’t going to impress them. Well I take that back: It likely will impress them, but not in a positive way.
I don’t have an elevator pitch. And I don’t want one. “Why not Andy?” I’m glad you asked.
I am a human being. I am not a resource. I don’t want to sell you anything – especially not myself. If you want to rent some of the time I’ve been given (my definition of “work”), we can make that happen. If you want to discuss something, I’m in. If you share a passion for technology, good engineering, and great teams; odds are we’ll learn stuff from each other. And that’s the heart of it for me: learning. Not selling. There’s a difference. One key is to ask The Right Question:
“Who Are You?”
This is a scan of my actual business card. A lot of thought went into this card. It may not look like it, but it did – I promise. This card does not communicate what I do, it communicates who I am. I am a human being, not a human doing. I’m a package deal. If you need a person with SSIS experience, you also get a Southern Boy at no extra charge.
Here’s the distinction: I am Andy, I do work. I don’t mix business life with personal life; I do business personally. That’s what I want the business card to convey. I believe it does.
Do What You Are
As Buck Woody reminded me yesterday (No Certainties, Including That One), I am not relating “some newfound wisdom as if I’m the first one to discover it” – at least I hope I’m not sounding like I think this is all new. It isn’t. This is stuff I’ve learned from others.
With that as a given, I recommend you do what you are. All of us are built for something. Figure out what that something is, and do that. It may be in your chosen field, it may not. I am not saying “Do what you can” because there are lots of things you can do – and perhaps do very well. Do those things fulfill you? If you had a day with absolutely nothing to do, would you go do those things?
Passion is a clue.
If you’re not doing what you are, stop doing it. Start being. I’m not advocating you walk out of the front door and quit your job this instant. I am seriously advocating you begin searching for a position (or start creating one) that matches who you are.
If you’re a human doing, stop. Become a human being!